Two prominent members of New Zealand’s community receive awards

December 31, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Two well-known members of New Zealand’s Jewish community have been honoured in today’s New Year’s awards.

John Barnett

John Barnett has been awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit [CNZM], having been previously awarded the ONZM

Auckland-based John Barnett has been recognised for services to film and television

After 45 years including work on Sione’s Wedding, Shortland Street and Whale Rider, he told media it has always been fun, and never much like work.

You love all the children that you make but certainly the world-wide success of Whale Rider has been enormously satisfying.

We didn’t expect that it would have a success that it did, I never had any doubt that it would resonate with people and that the story was an international story, but the way that it was taken up and accepted by the world was very gratifying.”

Barnett is also Trustee of the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust, the Auckland Hospital Charitable Trust, Auckland Health Foundation, and Te Urungi o Ngāti Kuri.

John Barnett told J-Wire: ” Im thrilled to receive this recognition and honour.

Its an affirmation of the growth and importance of a New Zealand screen industry, telling stories about us, for us, and opening up these stories to the rest of the world.
 My own heritage and the consequence of seeing things from a different perspective has been a strong factor in the selection and presentation of a number of the stories I’ve been involved in.
It’s been a fun journey, and there is more to come”

Bob Narev
Photo: Stephen Robinson

Bob Nerev is a  German-Jewish Holocaust survivor who is fighting what he sees as a declining and often absent knowledge about the horrors of the Nazi regime.

He has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the community and education.

Like John Barnett, he has received an honour before becoming a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999.

Recycling a quote that Winston Churchill once adopted, he says “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”.

The Auckland former lawyer and his wife Freda who is also a Holocaust survivor have been educators for the Wellington-based Holocaust Centre of New Zealand for 17 years.

They have used their Holocaust experiences to teach thousands of New Zealand students and adult groups about the dangers of racism, prejudice and bigotry and the importance of respecting people of all races and religions.

Bob Narev told J-Wire: “The award has officially recognised the importance of Holocaust education.”




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